This post has been “a long time coming,” in a way..
Monday afternoon, our bumble butt has an appointment with a pediatric dentist to diagnose him with a tongue and lip tie. And then hopefully cut said lip and tongue ties. He has both. He has had both. When he was six weeks old, I took him to the ENT at our local naval hospital to have both evaluated, after breastfeeding began to hurt again. The doctor we saw would not even look at his tongue tie, and said it was not a problem because he could (barely) stick his tongue past his gum line. He snipped the lip tie with iris scissors, after telling me he didn’t think it was a problem and didn’t know if it would help. I think that probably does an adequate job explaining why I was unsatisfied with the results. Breastfeeding still hurts sometimes, and we are still dealing with poor transfer issues and low supply.
I always thought the white band connecting my tongue to the lower gum line was normal. It’s not. My husband has a tongue tie too, and had his lip tie snipped when he was fifteen or so, in an effort to close the gap between his front two teeth. It didn’t.
The sailor and I considered just leaving the little’s ties alone. Dealing with the naval hospital is a pain in itself, and he is so close to starting solids that the demand for breastmilk is going to naturally begin declining anyway… Our minds were made up to just leave them alone, until the sailor stumbled across this post by Penny, of Penniless Parenting. It is a great article, summarizing the many problems with leaving these ties as they are. Tongue ties lead to high narrow palates, not enough room for adult teeth, need for palate expanders, smaller-than normal sinuses, mouth breathing.. All things I have have dealt with. Lip ties often lead to rotten teeth, speech difficulties, and a gap between the front two teeth. Getting them taken care of while his mouth is still forming is important, despite what we had thought. It’s about more than just his ability to breastfeed, although that will also benefit by having them snipped.
I could honestly, almost cry reading this article from The Leaky Boob about tongue and lip ties. It is overwhelming seeing all of our breastfeeding struggles right there, as part of a list of symptoms of something that can be fixed. To think I almost gave up breastfeeding so many times.. the supply drops and lazy, sleepy, every hour or two around the clock nursings… I am determined to find a solution that allows him to wean because he is ready, not because my milk dries up.
More than that, to live and learn. Know better, do better.